|MadSci Network: Science History|
Wynona, I can give you advice from an _expert_ on what scientists and explorers have in common. His name was Santiago Ramon y Cajal and he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1906. You can look him up at http://nobelprize.org/medicine/laureates/1906/index.html. Ramon y Cajal wrote an excellent book, "Advice for a Young Investigator," which has value for a scholar in any field. Characteristics which a scientist, explorer or other discoverer should have (with quotes from Ramon y Cajal): ***Independent Judgement - “They are not spellbound or overly impressed by the work of their predecessors and mentors but instead observe carefully and question.” That is, they want to see for themselves. ***Concentration - “Most people who lack self-confidence are unaware of the marvelous power of prolonged concentration.” Stories of exploration and of scientific discovery rarely talk about the discovery happening overnight; it takes time and wrong turns. ***Passion for Reputation - “The scholar struggles for the benefit of all humanity, sometimes to reduce physical effort, sometimes to reduce pain, and sometimes to postpone death, or at least render it more bearable.” ***Taste for Scientific Originality - “...the incomparable gratification associated with the act of discovery itself.” The book is still in print: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0262681501/qid=1129741694/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-4887811-5392910?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 and I recommend it enthusiastically to any student. I don't think the difference between explorers and scientists is any larger than the differences among members within each group. Scientists have a variety of approaches and motivations, and so do explorers. Labels can become awfully murky sometimes. Were the people who developed hot-air balloons and airplanes scientists studying physical principles, or explorers trying to get at a new territory? Another book you might want to look for is "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Clifford Stoll. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0743411463/qid=1129743019/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-4887811-5392910?v=glance&s=books Stoll's an astronomer by training -- that's an explorer who can't actually visit the territory he's exploring! The book describes how he wound up tracking down a computer hacker in Germany. It's a fun read and really is a novel of exploration even if 90% of it is set in and around Berkeley, California. Best, Mitch Maltenfort
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